BROILING TEMPS CONTINUE; AT LEAST 6 DIE
By JOANN LOVIGLIO, Associated Press Writer
July 18, 2006
PHILADELPHIA - Even in black pants, a black vest and long-sleeved shirt,
Amish flower vendor David Stoltzfus had no complaints about working outdoors Tuesday as the stagnant air simmered at close
to 100 degrees.
‘I do it every day, work in warm weather," said Stoltzfus, who came from
his farm in Lancaster County to sell flowers
near Philadelphia's Rittenhouse
Square. "We're fine. I'm comfortable."
But he was among the few
people not complaining about the heat wave that has gripped much of the nation with temperatures in the 90s and 100s since
the weekend. Cities across the country took steps to ease the health threat and conserve energy. At least six deaths have
been blamed on the heat, and the weather was suspected in at least three others.
In New York City, the mayor ordered city offices to turn off unnecessary lights. In Pennsylvania, swimming pools stayed open late and summer school classes
were dismissed early.
Square Park in Manhattan, sweaty residents cheered when a large fountain shot on and started wading in the
ankle-deep water. No one worried about whether it was dirty.
"It's too hot to care about
that stuff right now," said Alex Glowacki of Brooklyn. "And anyway, it doesn't look all green
and slimy like it usually does, so I feel OK without shoes on."
The thermometer hit 95 degrees
by 2:30 p.m. in Central Park, the National
Weather Service said. The heat index, measuring the combined effects of heat and humidity, was expected to reach
Heat advisories and warnings
were lifted for much of Pennsylvania, except for the southeastern portion that includes Philadelphia. Parts of the Midwest
also got a little relief from a Canadian cool front. The 8 a.m. temperature in Milwaukee
was 65, compared with 76 at the same time Monday.
The Northeast could get
a break starting Tuesday night, with scattered showers and thunderstorms expected for parts of the region, but the heat was
likely to persist in the southern Plains until Friday. Forecasts in Nebraska
called for temperatures around 110 degrees Wednesday.
In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg reminded residents to conserve electricity. He directed
City Hall to do its part: Only natural light filtered into the rotunda Tuesday, and some passageways and rooms were dark.
"There's plenty of light
coming through the windows — you don't have to keep the lights on — and if everybody did some of that, that would
really save some electricity," the mayor said.
As the temperature rose
to almost 100, an electrical cable failed at LaGuardia Airport, knocking out power to one terminal and part of a second terminal for several
hours. American Airlines canceled 45 flights, and Delta canceled 11 flights.
Jennifer Caban, 16, of Queens, said she cranked up the air conditioning in her home until it broke. So she was sitting in the
shade. "It was the worst night's sleep I ever had," she said. "I woke up and there was a pool of sweat on my pillow."
Relief could not come soon
enough for many people working outdoors.
In Newark, N.J., bicycle patrolman Manuel Arias' wore a uniform
of black pants and a helmet as temperatures climbed well into the 90s.
"I'm on my fifth bottle,"
he said. "Yesterday, I drank 15 bottles."
The heat was blamed for
the death of a Philadelphia woman found in her home on Monday,
and outreach workers continued to check on homeless and elderly people. The city closed summer school at 11 a.m. again on
Tuesday in buildings without air conditioning.
Utilities set records for
electricity usage, and in Connecticut health departments
advised people without air conditioning to cool off in senior centers, malls and movie theaters.
"If I see sprinklers or
hydrants, I just drench myself," said New Haven, Conn.,
letter carrier Ceferino Roman, who walked his route in 20-minute intervals, taking breaks in between. "This is the worst."
In cities such as Allentown and Hartford, Conn.,
swimming pool hours were extended and sometimes fees were waived. New York Gov. George Pataki waived admission fees to Long Island state beaches from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. until Thursday.
Amtrak travelers riding
between Washington, D.C., and New York on Tuesday evening experienced delays of at least an hour that conductors blamed
on the extreme heat, which requires trains to travel at reduced speeds.
in Connecticut monitored the overhead lines that power some commuter trains to New York City because the cables tend to sag in extreme heat, causing
In suburban Philadelphia on Tuesday, a 23-year-old man with cerebral palsy died after apparently being
left in a sweltering van by accident, authorities said.
The also heat killed a 76-year-old
Oklahoma City man in a house where the air conditioner was broken, and the body of a 62-year-old woman was discovered in another
home that had air conditioning that was not turned on, officials said Tuesday. Three other deaths in Oklahoma were believed to be linked to the heat.